Electric vehicles have continued to witness increasing adoption. However, the battery remains an Achilles heel as there are many ways it could be improved. Nissan has revealed its plan to start producing solid-state batteries from 2028.
The battery is among the most critical aspects of an electric vehicle because there is no source of power to move the car without it. However, EV batteries are notoriously expensive, heavy, and take longer to charge, three factors that make some potential EV drivers hesitate to make the switch.
Many companies are involved in battery research and development to address this battery issue. A new area being researched is the solid-state battery. They are different from the standard lithium-ion batteries used today because they use a solid electrolyte instead of a liquid. The choice of electrolyte allows them to hold more power, charge faster, and last longer.
However, many things have to be worked out before solid-state batteries can be used extensively in electric cars.
According to Nissan, “All-solid-state batteries are expected to be a game-changing technology for accelerating the popularity of electric vehicles. They have an energy density approximately twice that of conventional lithium-ion batteries, significantly shorter charging time due to superior charge/discharge performance, and lower cost thanks to the opportunity of using less expensive materials. With these benefits, Nissan expects to use all-solid-state batteries in a wide range of vehicle segments, including pickup trucks, making its EVs more competitive.”
Nissan is one of the companies actively pursuing solid-state batteries, and it has come public with its roadmap to production. The auto company revealed it would use the batteries in all its vehicles, starting from 2028. By then, Nissan expects its solid-state battery to cost only $75 per kWh and eventually $65 per kWh. At those prices, electric cars should not cost significantly more than ICEs. The battery largely determines the final cost of the vehicle.
By 2024, Nissan expects to set up a pilot production line in Yokohama where all materials and manufacturing processes details would be hashed out.
Kunio Nakaguro, executive vice president in charge of R&D, said: “Nissan has been a leader in electrification technology through a wide range of R&D activities, from molecular-level battery material research to the development of safe, high-performance EVs. Our initiatives even include city development using EVs as storage batteries.
“The knowledge gained from our experience supports the development of all-solid-state batteries, and we’ve accumulated important elemental technologies. Going forward, our R&D and manufacturing divisions will continue to work together to utilize this prototype production facility and accelerate the practical application of all-solid-state batteries.”
Other companies developing solid-state batteries include Toyota, which already claims to have a prototype EV running on the battery. The company has revealed it would start by using its solid-state battery in hybrid cars. Volkswagen is backing QuantumScape, which hopes to begin selling the battery in 2024. Ford has a longer product map as it is looking at 2030 to get its own solid-state battery ready.